What you need to know

The combined dairy and non-dairy milk categories remained stagnant from 2015-19, with increases in non-dairy milk offset by declines in dairy milk. Both segments are expected to receive a healthy sales boost in 2020, driven in large part by shifts in consumer behavior as a result of COVID-19. Mintel expects that 2021 will see a retraction from these highs, as the category returns to a degree of normalcy. Dairy milk will remain a much larger segment than the non-dairy portion of the market, yet both can leverage various drivers, like wellbeing, value or sustainability, to resonate with consumers emerging from a pandemic and seeking a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their households.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 and a recession on the dairy and non-dairy milk markets

  • The overlap in dairy and non-dairy consumption

  • Innovation opportunities for dairy and non-dairy milk brands

  • Perceptions by milk type


The scope of this Report includes both the dairy and non-dairy milk markets.

Dairy milk

The dairy milk market size includes:

  • Refrigerated dairy milks (eg skim/lowfat milk, whole milk, flavored milk)

  • Shelf-stable RTD milk (eg unrefrigerated dairy milk)

Cream, creamers, condensed/evaporated milk, and powdered milk are excluded from the dairy milk market size.

Non-dairy milk

The non-dairy market size includes:

  • Almond milk

  • Coconut milk

  • Soy milk

  • Other non-dairy milk (eg cashew milk, oat milk)

  • Shelf-stable, RTD non-dairy milk

Non-dairy cream and creamers are excluded from the non-dairy milk market size.

COVID-19: Market context

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US in January 2020. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health pandemic, and on March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency in the US.

Across the US, state-level stay-at-home orders rolled out throughout the months of March and April, and remained in place through May, and in some cases June. During this time, referred to as lockdown, nonessential businesses and school districts across the nation closed or shifted to remote operations.

During reemergence, all 50 states have relaxed stay-at-home orders and allowed businesses to operate with varying levels of social distancing measures in place. The continued spread of COVID-19 infections has driven some states to slow down or reverse course on reopening plans. Mintel anticipates the US will remain in a state of flux through 2021 until a vaccine is available.

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